WASHINGTON, April 19, 2012 — Mixed in with today’s media buzz about the NFL draft, hockey suspensions, political wars, and current scandals, is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Is the memory of the Holocaust as strong today as it was 40 or 50 years ago? That is unlikely, but it is a part of history we do well to remember.
Time and History
The death camps of WWII fade into history as time and survivors pass away. Fading happens to all events, and those involved in them. The only history that is vivid to each of us is the history we live or witness, and history accommodates every generation with its own tensions and 9/11 experience.
History reminds us how resourceful, selfish, inventive, repetitive, generous, and fearful humans are. Mankind is amazing and disappointing, compassionate and cruel. We create breathtaking beauty while the natural beauty that supports us is poisoned. As Spock, in the original Star Trek would say, “Fascinating.”
A Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, put the contradiction that man is this way, “Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.”
A Twist of the Heart
None of us really know how we will respond in a difficult situation until we go through it. We all have the capacity to be a bank robber or a sheriff; the coward, or the hero. In any case, our own internal conflicts are what we actually struggle with.
In her diary, Anne Frank wrote, “And finally I twist my heart round again, so that the bad is on the outside and the good is on the inside, and keep on trying to find a way of becoming what I would so like to be, and could be, if there weren’t any other people living in the world.”
Anne’s diary is still read today because she is wise to the inner conflict of interests within people, starting with herself. We can relate to the “bad” being on the outside of her heart because we all have the same nature, the same internal tug of war. We each dress our human nature uniquely and then fall for the illusion of difference.
In Spite of Everything
This article is not going anywhere in particular. It is for remembrance only, although the urge to pontificate is strong. Instead, let Anne speak again about the absurdity and sincerity she found in her life.
“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
Holocaust Remembrance Week is April 15 - 22, 2012.
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